On Thursday, October 26, the Supreme Court handed down a decision confirming President Bola Tinubu’s victory in the presidential election held on February 25. This ruling marked the end of a legal battle as appeals from opposition candidates Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) were dismissed.
Back in September, the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja had rejected the petitions put forth by the opposition parties. These petitions raised various concerns, including allegations of fraud, electoral law violations, and doubts about Tinubu’s eligibility, as well as complaints against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The seven-judge panel came to a clear and unanimous decision, asserting that the appeals made by the opposition, which revolved around claims of fraud, electoral law violations, and Tinubu’s eligibility to run for president, lacked any substantial merit. The court emphatically dismissed all grounds of appeal, which encompassed issues related to qualifications, adherence to the Electoral Act, vote percentages in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and allegations of electoral misconduct.
Justice Inyang Okoro, while dismissing Atiku’s appeal, stated, “After considering all the issues raised by the appellant, it is my belief that the appeal lacks merit and is thus dismissed.” The court upheld the verdict that Bola Tinubu is the legitimate President of Nigeria. Justice Okoro affirmed, “The judgment delivered by the lower court on September 6th, 2023, which confirmed the election of the second respondent as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is hereby upheld.”
Similarly, Obi’s appeal, which raised concerns about Tinubu’s alleged double nomination of Vice-President Kashim Shettima, was also rejected by the court. The court pointed out that this particular issue had already been addressed in a previous ruling on May 26.
With regards to the fourth issue, which was related to the double nomination and was not part of Atiku’s appeal, the court held that it had already been settled and could not be reopened. The court emphasized the importance of putting an end to litigation and stated that it was not appropriate to revisit a matter that had already been adjudicated.
The court’s position was clear: the issue of double nomination had been addressed before, and there was no need to re-examine it. Therefore, the appeal was deemed lacking in merit and was promptly dismissed.